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Oil Containment Efforts Halted After Lightning Strike Causes Fire on BP Ship

Associated Press

June 16, 2010

GULF OF MEXICO – Things actually can get worse in the Gulf of Mexico.

A fire believed to be caused by a lightning bolt forced the shutdown Tuesday of an oil-capturing system near the gushing Gulf oil well, BP said.

The fire aboard the drill ship Discoverer Enterprise was spotted around 9:30 a.m. Although it was quickly extinguished without injuries, the capture operation was halted as a precaution.

The since-shuttered system was siphoning oil from a containment cap above the well. BP said it hopes to resume the containment operation later Tuesday.

“At the moment, there’s no capture, no containment going on, but we’ll start up the Enterprise when it’s safe to do so,” said BP spokesman Robert Wine said.

The latest BP problem came just hours before President Obama’s scheduled address to the nation about the environmental disaster.

His spokesman said Obama is ready to grab the handling of oil spill damage claims from BP to ensure people get necessary aid to recover from the spill.

The rig has been leaking since an April 20 explosion that killed 11, dumping millions of gallons of gasoline into the gulf.